5 Must-See Movies This Holiday Season

5 must-see films in theatres this holiday season
5 must-see films in theatres this holiday season

What better way to really kick back during the holidays than to watch some quality films on the big screen? Late December is typically an exciting time at the movies, and this year is no exception. With directors like Martin Scorsese, the Coen Brothers and Spike Jonze offering up their works, you won’t want to miss out on the movie magic.

Here’s a shortlist of some flics already garnering a lot of buzz:

Inside Llewyn Davis
Release date: December 20, 2013

Directed by the legendary Coen Brothers, Inside Llewyn Davis is based loosely on the life of Dave Van Ronk, a largely forgotten folk musician from the 60’s. Llewyn is played by Oscar Isaac, last seen in a minor role in Drive, and an accomplished guitarist in his own right. This is a portrait of a cold wintry week in Llewyn’s life. Watch as he couch surfs, loses a cat, and performs modest gigs, all the while burning personal bridges and facing failure after failure. A musical score by T-Bone Burnett is touted as brilliant. John Goodman, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake all offer supporting roles in what is looking to be the next Coen Brothers classic. Fans of the Coen Brothers and of folk music won’t want to miss out on this film, which has already garnered the coveted Grand Prix award at the Cannes film festival, and several Golden Globe nominations (best picture, best actor and best song).

Saving Mr. Banks
Release date: December 18, 2013

Many of us remember watching the magical Mary Poppins as children. The story few of us know, however, is how Disney rallied to have the film made. Or how author Pamela Travers, who wrote the book that the movie is based on, took the story from the pages of her own childhood. The film paints Travers as a stickler who wants Disney to stay true to her story. Walt Disney is played by Tom Hanks, an old hand at warm Americans without boundaries. Emma Thomson plays the prickly Travers, who has nothing but said boundaries. Jason Schwartzman and BJ Novak (The Office) play two songwriters, offering up comic relief. The movie flashes back and forth to Travers’ childhood, where her alcoholic father (Colin Farrell) is failing to provide for his family after his wife dies.This is when Pamela’s aunt, played by the excellent Rachel Griffiths, steps into the picture to take care of the children. And the rest is movie history. This one will likely be a sugary treat perfect for the holidays!

The Wolf of Wall Street
Release date: December 25, 2013

For a healthy dose of debauchery during the holidays, you can’t go wrong with this Scorsese/DiCaprio collaboration. Their latest is based on the autobiography of disgraced stockbroker Jordan Belfort. In another turn as a rich party boy, the always enigmatic DiCaprio plays Belfort as he schemes and snorts his way to the top alongside partner Danny Porush, played by Jonah Hill. Although some of the film’s scenes were edited just to get it down to an R rating, it still features many real ones taken out of Belfort and Porush’s sinful life on Wall Street (such as their weekly midget toss and the constant flow of prostitutes and drugs running through their company’s basement).

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter DiCaprio said he was drawn to the tale because of the seediness of its story line. “Films exploring [humanity’s] darker nature are the most profound,” he proclaimed.

Despite the dark angle of the film– drug and child abuse, molestation and greed– a quick look at its trailer will reveal a comic thread, as well as bang-on soundtrack. If your holiday parties are a drag, at least you know you can have a wild time watching this.

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Andrea Pare

Andrea Pare is a Montreal-born, Toronto transplanted writer of all things music and culture and arts-related.

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